The wait is over. The Houston Texans are finally prepared to play the New Orleans Saints in their first game of the 2019 NFL season. After going through offseason OTA’s, training camp, and we can’t forget how much of an emotional rollercoaster the fans were on last Saturday. They watched an outstanding defensive player and great locker room veteran in DE/LB Jadeveon Clowney get traded to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for two defensive players (Jacob Martin and Barkevious Mingo) and a 2020 third-round pick earlier in the day.
Social media and radio airwaves were on fire when the trade happened as Texans fans were baffled on how the franchise could not come to a long-term contract agreement with Clowney. The 2019 outcome looked very bleak for the reigning 2018 AFC South Division winners. So many questions still needed to be answered on offense and now the defense was losing a former Second-Team All-Pro.
It became evident that Texans were hemorrhaging fans by the minute with no first aid kit in the site. Just before things went completely dark, the general management team (Texans fired their former GM Brian Gaine in the offseason) pulled up in an ambulance and administered CPR by pulling off a mega trade with the Miami Dolphins.
Houston acquired left tackle Laremy Tunsil, the 13th overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, and wide receiver Kenny Stills, a 2020 fourth-round pick and a 2021 sixth-round pick from Miami. In exchange, the Dolphins got two first-round picks in 2020 and 2021, a second-round pick in 2021, defensive back Johnson Bademosi, and tackle Julien Davenport.
The Texans also picked up running back Carlos Hyde from the Kansas City Chiefs for offensive lineman Martinas Rankin in a separate deal to help bolster the backfield after starting running back Lamar Miller went down and was lost for the year in the preseason against the Dallas Cowboys.
Wait. Did I mention that the Texans coaching staff were also in the process of making final cuts to get the roster down to 53? Yes. It was that type of day in the city of Houston.
Now that the roster has been set and the practice squad has been filled, the Texans face another difficult task in playing four teams (Saints, Chargers, Chiefs, Colts) that made the 2018 NFL playoffs in their first seven games including two who made their respective conference championship games (Saints and Chiefs). Both teams came within one play of facing each other in the Super Bowl.
The backend of the schedule doesn’t get any easier for Houston as they face the Ravens and Colts and finish off a three-week span of games against the Super Bowl LIII champions, New England Patriots.
With the sudden retirement announcement of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, the AFC South is up for grabs and I believe the offensive moves the team made on Saturday will propel them to another division title.
Tim Kelly will take over play calling duties this year and Houston brought in “Quarterback Whisper” Carl Smith from Seattle to help bring some wisdom and knowledge to the quarterback’s room.